On July 17, I was still tracking our devolution toward the 1966 team, still thinking we could duplicate that sorry record in Yankee history.
But just a week later--fueled by the optimism that comes with a handful of wins, which is usually dashed by a losing streak of equal or greater length--I posted the following. For some reason, it seemed to me that it actually, really, maybe, sort of could be possible. My rather myopic vision didn't see why it would become possible, i.e., unloading our best players and then unceremoniously cutting A-Rod (in shameful fashion, I still say), but the Spidey sense was tingling.
I herewith take you back to July 23, almost a long, long month ago, and the starry-eyed dreaming of a fan who, for all his cynicism and bad attitudes, still carried a torch for this nutty team...which is now 5.5 games out of first with 44 games to go, with every team ahead of it crumbling under the weight of injury and imperfection...
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Last year, we sat on top of the world during the first half. In fact, we were doing great at the end of July, at 57-43. July was a good month.
And then came what seemed like The Collapse, ending the regular season lamely and culminating in the pathetic one-game display where everyone was on Xanax.
On the other hand, we finished 87-75. So really, The Collapse wasn't exactly a collapse. We just went 30-32 in the second half. At the end of August we were 72-58, the same number of games over .500 as were were two months before. At the end of September we were 86-72, again 14 over. And we finished in October, 12 over, going 1-3 in four October games.
In essence, we didn't collapse in the last couple of months. We just were intensely mediocre. We were basically a .500 team. The plus side of the season record was all logged by the end of July.
Here we are in 2016, and so far it seems like an extension of those last two months plus. We have put in almost all of the first four months of the season, and we've basically been a .500 team.
And here's the fantasy. Somehow, for some weird reason, 2016 becomes a mathematical inversion of 2015. Instead of starting off like champions and then falling into mediocrity and rarely getting the key hits and exceptional performances down the stretch, we've spent four months in mediocrity, rarely getting the key hits and exceptional performances. OK, been there, done that.
Let's say that, counting today's game, we go 3-5 the rest of July. We end the month at 52-52.
Now, fantastically, let's say we spend the next two months semi-terrorizing the majors. During August, September and the few games in October, we go 14 games over .500, 36-22. We have a pretty tough schedule during that period, but instead of folding we play up to the standards of the competition and then some. (Which we've done on the downside, playing down to the standards of the supposedly easier teams in the first four months.) We end the regular season at 88-74.
That would be one game better than last year, but it would seem miraculous and we might even have a shot at the actual wild card and not the one-game crap shoot. We'd also be going into the playoffs with momentum, as a team that gelled in the last third of the season and got the timely hitting and pitching and plain good luck it needed. Does that team lie down and die against its playoff rivals? Probably not. Can it get to the World Series? Probably not, but maybe. Can it win the World Series if it gets there? More probably not. But, ya never know. Crazy things happen if a team is hot or lucky at the right time.
Remember, it's just a fantasy. The inversion season. Highly unlikely.
Highly, highly, highly unlikely.